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Referendum Questions: What will it cost?

Update: I forgot a couple of bills that I paid in January. Please see my update below for new numbers!

One of the questions surrounding the Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax is how much it will cost the average household in Metro Vancouver. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says $258 a year, and the Better Transit & Transportation Coalition says $125 a year. Keep in mind that those are for the average household, meaning roughly half will pay more and half will pay less.

So which is it? The actual answer is dependent on the household. Some households will buy a lot of taxable goods, some won’t buy many. I decided to take a stab at answering this specific question:

How much will I pay?

I kept all receipts for everything we purchased in January 2015. I added up the total amount we paid for taxable goods, and that came to $312.26. For those taxable goods, adding a 0.5% CIT would have cost us an extra $1.56 for the entire month.

That’s not all that we paid for that would be subject to the CIT. We are modo members, and car-sharing fees are subject to PST. In January 2015 we paid $26.10 in PST on our modo bills, which means we would have paid another $1.86 in CIT.

And we also bought a table. We bought this through a local company that makes tables, and it was a flat $1000, tax included. If you figure out what PST you’d pay to make the total tax-included amount $1000, it works out to $62.50 ($1000 / 1.12 = $892.86, 7% of that is $62.50), so we would have paid another $4.46 in CIT. This cost would probably have been eaten by the company, because they probably wouldn’t charge $1005 for a table. I only mention it because it’s an example of an expensive purchase that would normally be charged tax, but if you shop smart (and local!) you can find ways to reduce your tax burden.

So how much CIT would we have paid in January 2015?

$3.42

$3.42 for the whole month. 11 cents a day. And what would we get for that? A new bridge. A new SkyTrain line. New light rail lines. More buses. More walking and cycling routes. Less congestion.

All that for only 11 cents a day? Sign me up.

Update: I forgot my cell phone, internet, and TV bills that I paid in January. On these bills I paid a total of $18.27 in PST, which would have meant an extra $1.31 in PST. This means that in January, the CIT would have cost me an extra $4.73 in taxes, or 15 cents a day. My apologies for getting this wrong.

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